Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, December 11th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
Call to Worship
Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus.
O God, come to our assistance.
O Lord hasten to help us.
Drop down the dew from above, O heavens,
and let the clouds rain justice.
Let the earth’s womb be opened,
and bring forth a Savior.
Gracious God: leader of the house of Israel: Through a human family you introduced your Son to the world. Help us to draw closer to our family of faith, that we may present Christ to the world through our love. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
(Sung to the tune of Joy to the World)
Hark the glad sound! the Savior comes,
The Savior promised long:
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.
He comes, the prisoners to release
In Satan’s bondage held;
The gates of brass before him burst,
The iron fetters yield.
He comes, the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure,
And with the treasures of his grace
To bless the humble poor.
Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven’s eternal arches ring
With thy beloved name.
GROW: Isaiah 35:1-10
On Sunday of this week we learned that the heart of this passage is the profound message of God’s healing, restoring and rescuing of God’s creation. Further, God will restore the purposes of the creation to their intended function. The question is what will this look like?
The prophet, Isaiah, first promises that God will have great effect for disable human beings. Those with weak hands and feeble knees might be overcome with fear, timidity, vulnerability, lack of courage, lack of the capacity to live a full life. They are struggling with those things which prevent them from living effectively and joyously. Yet, when the good news is uttered in v. 4 the impact begins: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the dumb sing. In the amazing loving action of our God people are given back their lives. All humanity is restored to it’s full function and glory.
Second, the impact of God’s good news will also transform a troubled creation. All of creation is pictured here as a place of desolate drought and lifelessness. However, for God no place is lifeless. Despite the fact that the wilderness has no resources in store, and survival there is precarious at best, a rain is promised to make everything live.
Suddenly, streams are gushing in the desert, and life springs forth from the barrenness. Thanks be to God! The Lord does not despair of any of the Lord’s creation. All things, all people, it all is coming to life in strong and beautiful ways, and the way for God’s people is a perfect and righteous way. Not one thing will destroy those on God’s way of holiness. Everyone who undertakes this journey will return to the Lord with singing, ever lasting joy, and all sorrow will be gone.
There are many days when the chaos of our lives distract us from God’s healing of creation. Reports of violence, both human and creational violence, seek to district us from God’s great promise of all things new already begun in Jesus Christ. Our temptation is to look outward and blame everything else on the evil in the world. Today, Christ calls us to look inward and contemplate the ways we are being made new. Spend 30 minutes today in silent reflection and note the ways God has transformed you in the past year. Make a note of those transformations and give thanks. Make a note of the new places the Holy Spirit seems to be working, and ask the Lord for the strength to trust again as we journey on the Holy Way of Christ.
—Pastor Phil Hamner